A Modern Dark Tower

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By Diana Budds / Published by Dwell
In northwest Michigan, a vacation retreat boasts a prime vantage point from which to soak up the bucolic scenery.

It all started with a ride in a cherry picker. Joseph Lada and Gary Cozette of Chicago bought a plot of land near Michigan’s Glen Lake and soon realized the view was best surveyed from a height of 30 feet. They approached architect Tom Lenchek, and the three conferred about how to build above the treetops. "The challenge was not only celebrating the view but also the progression of getting there," Lenchek says. First, he established the structure’s height—four stories—then worked his way down. To enter the 1,400-square-foot house, the Lada-Cozette family first ascends an outdoor staircase. Next, they circulate through a windowed stairwell that allows them to see the canopy, past the floors containing the two bedrooms, eventually arriving at the main living space, which features floor-to-ceiling glass walls and a cantilevered deck. "Up there," says Lenchek, "you really feel as though you’re on top of the world." 

A Modern Dark Tower - Photo 1 of 5 - Rough-sawn plywood and standing-seam metal siding clad the house. "In cabins, we like to use undressed materials, which lend themselves to the simplicity of the structure," says architect Tom Lenchek.

Rough-sawn plywood and standing-seam metal siding clad the house. "In cabins, we like to use undressed materials, which lend themselves to the simplicity of the structure," says architect Tom Lenchek.

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A Modern Dark Tower - Photo 2 of 5 - Achieving such efficiency and maintaining the integrity of the wetlands and woodlands on the property meant more research for both the designers and the resident—just getting approval for the siting of the buildings and the driveway took eight months—but Hague is hardly one to do things half way. "A lot of times couples engage in house-building, like birds. I'm doing this solo, more like a monk," he says of the deeply personal undertaking.

Achieving such efficiency and maintaining the integrity of the wetlands and woodlands on the property meant more research for both the designers and the resident—just getting approval for the siting of the buildings and the driveway took eight months—but Hague is hardly one to do things half way. "A lot of times couples engage in house-building, like birds. I'm doing this solo, more like a monk," he says of the deeply personal undertaking.

A Modern Dark Tower - Photo 3 of 5 - Playfully christened La Tour des Bébelles, the three-story, steel-framed tower has shown itself to be the ideal summer retreat: secluded, perfectly positioned near Ontario’s Otter Lake, and encouraging of its inhabitants to spend time outdoors.

Playfully christened La Tour des Bébelles, the three-story, steel-framed tower has shown itself to be the ideal summer retreat: secluded, perfectly positioned near Ontario’s Otter Lake, and encouraging of its inhabitants to spend time outdoors.

A Modern Dark Tower - Photo 4 of 5 - The Voolyberg Tower

The Voolyberg Tower

A Modern Dark Tower - Photo 5 of 5 - #concrete<span> <a href="/discover/tower">#tower</a></span><span> <a href="/discover/moderntower">#moderntower</a></span><span> <a href="/discover/sauna">#sauna</a></span><br>#modulorbeat<span> <a href="/discover/exterior">#exterior</a></span>